It was on a day during Empath's fourth visit to the Smurf Village, when he and his fellow Smurfs were around 100 years of age, that Papa Smurf had gathered the village together for an official announcement.
"My dear little Smurfs," he said, "I know you have been waiting patiently for this day just as much as I have, and so it smurfs me great pleasure to reopen the Smurfrock Tavern with Tapper Smurf as its official proprietor."
All the Smurfs cheered as Tapper approached the door of the tavern and unveiled its new sign. It now read Tapper's Tavern instead of the Smurfrock Tavern.
"Thank you, Papa Smurf, and thank you all, my dear fellow Smurfs, that you would be eager for the day that I will smurf over the business and let you enjoy yourselves as grown adult Smurfs should be allowed to. You are all welcome to celebrate this occasion with a mug of fresh sarsaparilla ale, compliments of the house."
"HURRAY! LONG LIVE TAPPER!" the Smurfs shouted together as they followed him into the tavern, where he began filling up the mugs with the frothy brown liquid they enjoyed so much.
"Whoa! This sarsaparilla ale's got a real kick to it!" Hefty said after he took his sip of it.
"That's because it ain't the ale you've been smurfing before now there, laddie," Duncan said. "This is the sarsaparilla ale of a real Smurfsman. It will knock the smurfs right out of you with just one glass."
"Now this is one powerful brew," Vanity commented.
"I hate powerful brews," Grouchy said before he took another sip. "But I still love sarsaparilla ale."
"Careful there, Grouchy, you don't want to be knocked on your smurf too soon," Duncan warned.
"This smurf does notice that the flavor has changed somewhat, Tapper," Empath said after taking a few sips. "It's like it's been fermented much longer than it used to be."
"Sarsaparilla ale is supposed to help you relax and feel good about yourself, my fellow Empath," Tapper said. "That's the potency you're now smurfing when you're drinking it. I couldn't smurf the brew like this because our growing bodies weren't able to handle it when we were so young."
"So this is how sarsaparilla ale is going to be from now on, Tapper?" Empath asked.
"Aye, for the most part, though there will still be a brew for those who aren't able to handle such potency, Empath," Tapper said. "Of course, that won't be the only thing that I will be smurfing at my tavern."
"You mean that there will be other kinds of drinks for the Smurfs to sample and enjoy while they're here?" Empath asked.
"I always believe in variety being the spice of life, Empath," Tapper answered. "My good friend Vino will be supplying the tavern with his wines, and I may be experimenting with the creation of new drinks that no Smurf has ever tasted before."
"This smurf will be anticipating to try them out, Tapper," Empath said. "In the meantime, is there other things to do in the tavern besides just sitting around and drinking ale?"
"Aye, Empath, that there is," Tapper said. "The Smurfs can come in here in the evenings to play games like chess and cards, and there's a dart board on the wall where you can smurf darts with another Smurf. You will certainly not be bored when you are in here, I can promise you that."
"You know, Handy might have some ideas for new games that he would appreciate introducing to his fellow Smurfs, and this smurf would think that this would be the place for introducing them," Empath said.
"By all means, Handy is welcome to smurf in whatever new games he invents, just as all my fellow Smurfs are welcome to," Tapper said.
"Honestly, Tapper, do you feel rather nervous about being in charge of a place where your job is to entertain your fellow Smurfs?" Empath asked.
"I'd be lying if I said that I don't feel a bit nervous about this whole thing at all, Empath," Tapper said. "Greedy probably has more years of experience smurfing a kitchen with a staff of four Smurfs than I have smurfing anything by myself. But I have faith that I won't be alone in running a tavern, for there will be some good-hearted Smurfs who will smurf a hand from time to time to lighten the smurf that I must carry."
"This smurf might be interested in learning how to operate the tavern while you're busy dealing with your customers or doing something else," Empath said.
"I would definitely welcome your help, Empath, though it may come at the expense of smurfing other important skills that Papa Smurf might want you to smurf," Tapper said. "I can't imagine that you would want to be stuck inside a place like this smurfing a job that would greatly limit your potential."
"This smurf wouldn't consider expanding this smurf's abilities in any area to be limiting, Tapper," Empath said. "It would be more of a benefit for this smurf to know what it means to be a Smurf."
"Well, if you want to be my first help smurfing drinks in the bar, Empath, I can give you a smurfing tray so you can deliver them to the customers," Tapper said.
"This smurf would be more than honored to help you," Empath said.
Just then Papa Smurf approached the counter. "So how do you feel now that you're in charge of smurfing this tavern, Tapper?" he asked.
"A wee bit nervous and a lot excited, Papa Smurf," Tapper said. "I can't thank you enough that you would smurf such trust in me to operate this establishment. Though truth to tell, I was just smurfing my good friend Empath about the need for some help while I'm busy attending things."
"I'll see what I can smurf to find you the kind of Smurfs you need, Tapper," Papa Smurf said. "I could imagine that one of the things you will need is a bouncer that will help you smurf control when things get really unsmurfy in here with your customers."
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, Papa Smurf, I should hope not," Tapper said.
"If having sarsaparilla ale this potent would loosen up a Smurf's sensibilities, Tapper, it would stand to reason that some Smurfs wouldn't be able to control themselves from drinking too much ale," Empath said.
"Empath is right, Tapper," Papa Smurf said. "I wouldn't want to smurf any fights breaking out in your tavern when it's supposed to be a place where Smurfs can relax at the end of the day."
Tapper nodded, understanding. "Then I will need a strong Smurf like Hefty or my good friend Duncan to help me smurf control before things turn into a real circus in here."
"I'll help you find that Smurf, Tapper," Papa Smurf said. "In the meantime, I will let Empath help you with whatever you would need in this tavern."
"Aye, thank you, Papa Smurf," Tapper said.
"Let's have a toast to the future of Tapper's Tavern," Empath suggested. "May it always be a place where every Smurf can enjoy themselves in."
"And may there always be fresh sarsaparilla ale for the customers," Tapper said.
"Here, here," Papa Smurf said smiling as he, Empath, and Tapper clinked their mugs together.
Soon they heard a Smurf in the tavern falling to the floor. "Great Ancestors," Empath exclaimed, as he and Tapper both saw who it was. "It's Hefty!"
They both rushed over to where Hefty had fallen, looking like he was really dizzy. "Empath...Tapper...what happened to me?" Hefty asked.
Empath briefly examined him with his minds-eye. "It's the sarsaparilla ale you have drank, Hefty," he answered. "The single glass you had of the beverage has made you inebriated to the point of losing all motor coordination."
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, my dear Empath," Tapper exclaimed. "Just one glass of my ale has smurfed this to him?"
"That is unfortunately the case, Tapper," Empath replied. "Let's help Hefty to one of the seats where we can help him recover."
"The room is smurfing around me, Empath," Hefty said in a slurred voice.
"Hold on, fellow Hefty, we're going to help you," Empath said as he and Tapper helped him to his feet and guided him to a seat at one of the tables.
"Look at Hefty!" Jokey said as he noticed him being carried by Empath and Tapper. "I guess that tough Smurf isn't tough enough to smurf his liquor!"
The other Smurfs laughed at Jokey's comment, but Empath, Tapper, and Papa Smurf didn't. They were very concerned about Hefty's state of being.
"Maybe there's something in my laboratory that I can smurf that will help Hefty resmurf his senses," Papa Smurf suggested.
"There won't be any need for that, Papa Smurf," Empath said as he touched Hefty's forehead and concentrated his mental energies toward healing his friend's inebriated condition. Soon Hefty started feeling alert again.
"Uhhhh, that was a really powerful brew of sarsaparilla ale you have smurfed up, Tapper," Hefty said. "I'm surprised the other Smurfs aren't smurfing to the floor like I have."
"Actually, Hefty, your physical makeup isn't able to tolerate more than just one glass of sarsaparilla ale with its alcoholic content," Empath said. "You would have to drink less of the ale to keep yourself from experiencing this condition again, or you'll have to order another drink without any alcohol."
"Great...I didn't have to think I would have to smurf myself away from sarsaparilla ale completely," Hefty said with some disgust.
"It will not have to smurf to that, Hefty," Tapper said smiling. "I would just have to smurf up a batch of the ale that you can safely drink without smurfing rather tipsy."
"Yeah, but smurf at Gutsy over there, smurfing three glasses and still looking like he can smurf me in a wrestling match," Hefty said sourly as he looked at Duncan drinking his ale.
"Aye, that is rather strange indeed, Hefty," Tapper said.
"This smurf senses that his physical makeup has a much stronger resistance to the effects of the sarsaparilla ale, Hefty," Empath said. "It would not be to your benefit if you were to challenge him in any kind of contest regarding the drinks that are served in this tavern."
"I would have to agree with Empath on this, Hefty," Tapper said.
"Just my luck that Gutsy would have to beat me in smurfing that," Hefty said. "I guess I'm going to have to stick to smurfing healthy drinks from now on."
"This smurf sensed that you always functioned better with the healthier drinks anyway, Hefty," Empath said. "Do you have any tomato juice in your store, Tapper?"
"I'll see what I can smurf for Hefty, Empath," Tapper said as he went back to the counter to look for tomato juice. He found a bottle of it and poured a glass for Hefty to drink before bringing it to his table. "Here, my fellow Hefty, have a smurf of this."
Hefty took a sip of the tomato juice. "Now this is what I call a drink!"
Papa Smurf smiled. "It looks like you're going to have to smurf up on tomato juice for Hefty, Tapper. I'll let Greedy know that this is what you'll be smurfing in your tavern."
"Aye, Papa Smurf," Tapper said.